This luxurious red wine onion gravy is the perfect sauce for dressing mashed potatoes or a tender beef roast.
Good gravy makes everything better, and red wine makes everything special. Combine the two with this flavorful gravy that is sure to bring any meal to the next level.
What is it?
My red wine onion gravy is a traditional roux-based brown gravy made from beef broth infused with fresh thyme, caramelized onions, and, of course, a generous pour of red wine. This gravy is made from scratch and you can take pride in its homemade taste. It is the perfect complement to roast dinners.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Red onion - Red onions works best for this recipe, but a sweet onion can also be used. Avoid white onions, they are best enjoyed raw.
- Butter - For a deeper flavor, use fat from meat drippings out of your roasting pan.
- All purpose flour
- Beef broth - Chicken broth can be substituted, but beef stock would be a better choice. Alternatively, you can use vegetable stock if you want to avoid animal products in this recipe.
- Dry red wine - A dry wine, like a cabernet or merlot, balances the sweetness of the onion.
- Fresh thyme - Bay leaves can be added as well, or as a substitute for thyme sprigs.
A couple of grinds of fresh black pepper would taste great in this recipe too. A dribble of Worcestershire sauce is a good way to add a little more complexity as well. Finally, your favorite type of mushrooms, like sauteed shiitake mushrooms, would taste great in this red onion gravy too.
How to make gravy
This luxurious red wine onion gravy begins by slowly caramelizing red onion slices in a saute pan, however, you can also use a large frying pan or saucepan. The wider the pan is, the easier it is to caramelize your onions because the onions get more contact with the heating surface.
Melt the butter into the pan set over medium heat and add onions. Slowly carmelize for approximately 30 minutes, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon until they are deeply colored and take on a sticky texture.
When making a roux it is always important to keep string so the flour doesn't get scorched. That will quickly ruin the sauce. So once the onions have been caramelized reduce to low heat prior to adding the flour. Then let the onion mixture cook for three minutes to cook out any raw flour flavor.
The more the roux is cooked, the darker it will become, imparting an increasingly nutty flavor. Personally, I cook the roux only until it begins to turn a light brown. This ensures the raw flour taste is cooked out and only takes a few quick minutes.
Slowly dribble the beef broth into the gravy while continuing to stir. You want to ensure the liquid is fully incorporating into the roux so lumps don't form. The thyme can also be added at this time. Once the beef broth is added, the same can be done with the wine.
At this point, you have a runny gravy. Just let it gently simmer for a few minutes and it will thicken up nicely into a delicious gravy. If it isn't thickening quick enough for you turn up the heat slightly so the gravy gently bubbles and burps.
Troubleshooting this recipe
- Will my gravy taste too much of red wine? - Maybe. It depends on your preferred taste. If this is a concern, I would recommend starting with less wine and tasting as you add more. The amount of wine needed for this recipe is completely flexible.
- My gravy is lumpy! - If the gravy gets lumpy just strain it through a fine-mesh strainer. All the lumps will be separated out.
- My gravy is too thin! - It will thicken as it simmers. Just be patient and it will thicken up.
- My gravy is too thick! - If your gravy simmered too long it will get too thick. This isn't a problem. You can quickly and easily thin it back out by adding a couple of dibbles of water.
Ways to use Red Wine Onion Gravy
- Mashed potatoes - Is there a more classic pairing than mashed potatoes and homemade gravy?
- Beef roast - Red wine onion gravy is perfect to pair with beef. Try using it with my Boneless Eye of Round Roast recipe.
- Chicken - This versatile gravy could also be substituted in my Chicken with Mushroom Gravy recipe. (I would remove the mushrooms as well)
- Venison - Red wine pairs wonderfully with venison. In particular, this would make an incredible sauce for venison meatballs.
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Red Wine Onion Gravy
- 1 small red onion sliced
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- ½ cup dry red wine (see note)
- 1 sprig thyme
- Melt butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add sliced red onion and slowly saute until caramelized, approximately 30 minutes.
- Once caramelized, turn heat to low then sprinkle in flour and stir to combine. Continue stirring for approximately three minutes, or until the flour mixture turns a light brown.
- Slowly dribble in beef broth while continuing to stir. Ensure it is fully incorporated before more is added so lumps don't form. Add in the sprig of thyme and slowly add the wine as well.
- Bring the gravy to a simmer and let cook until thickened, appoximately three minutes.